Quick comments about last night’s SB mtg.

Number one: No Duluth News Tribune reporters were present. I’m not sure if that’s a first at a school board meeting. Then again, their lead ed reporter just had a new baby girl. Congrats Jana.

Number two: It was, as has been the case for the past five or six board meetings, business-like and even friendly. So much for past overblown complaints about Art Johnston’s demeanor.

Number three: Only candidate, Alanna Oswald, sat through it all as she has every board meeting this summer with one exception. That was when she interviewed with the DFT endorsement committee. What happened with the DFT? Here’s a clue. I told Alanna I’ve never gotten a DFT endorsement and I’ve won three of my seven campaigns for the School Board. At least it wasn’t a vile and contaminated process like the AFSCME endorsement.

Number four: We had a long but important discussion of our student test results. It was long, in part, because we cut off our Education Committee last Tuesday after an all too short two hours because state law requires public bodies to stop their meetings at that time on election days. I suggested not holding our meetings on election day in the future.

Number five: Art Johnston did allude to his being forced to pay $74,000 to protect himself from the school board majority. This is not an unusual thing and as far as I’m concerned Art has every right to remind the board majority of their mean spiritedness. As usual this made Mike Miernicki groan. I am tickled pink that all six of this year’s school board candidates said they would not have voted to remove Art had they been on the board.

Number six: The Chair did not ask us to vote to adjourn which is her role as Chair. Instead, as per usual, she simply announced the adjournment. “I’m going to adjourn this meeting.” There was no asking for objections. This, I think, demonstrates the Chair’s over inflated sense of her power and authority. However, she is not the boss. She is simply the person chosen by the Board to conduct meetings. Her decisions only stand if the Board majority approves, otherwise she can be over ruled. I thought this was symptomatic of the high handed way our Board has been run under Judy’s authority.

Number seven: No one was home to greet me. Claudia was still at her seminary classes in the Twin Cities. I was hungry and decided I wanted more than fast food so I went by my lonesome to Little Angies and ordered a very fine “fajita sandwich” which I raved about to my server. It reminded me of the old days on the Duluth School Board.

After every meeting the Board members would adjourn, often with the Superintendent, and go to Canal Park and have a drink and/or hors d’oeuvres. We wouldn’t talk shop. It’s against the law for a quorum of any governmental body to do this in Minnesota. We’d just unwind and get to know each other. The new board doesn’t do this.

For those who have followed the dysfunction of Congress its well understood that Congress now behaves more like our School Board. After meetings Republicans and Democrats head their separate ways. They don’t get a chance to socialize and to see each other as real people. Under these circumstances its much easier to abuse your seatmates in committee in much the same way that its easy to be rude sending emails.

I like getting home from meetings early. But even more, I’d like to feel like I was part of a team rather than a millstone around the neck of our children.

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